Current use of local folk medicine (Rimèd Razyé) in the French Lesser Antilles: diversity patterns and links between food and health.
Folk medicine is an important component of culture, often with regional implications. In recent decades, renewed worldwide interest in the subject has developed. In this study, we investigated current use and forms of the Caribbean traditional medicine known as Rimèd Razyé, with an exploratory approach, in order to document current status, i.e., without testing theoretical ethnobotanical corpus. We proceeded through direct or phone interviews with randomly recruited volunteers spanning a broad range of population, and produce a listing of the most common species with current use based on gathered answers. Our limited sample size (35 interviews) provides tentative evidence that Rimèd Razyé is still widely adopted and practiced in the French Lesser Antilles (islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique). We also document integration of new exotic plants in the set of remedies, suggesting potential evolution from the original set of practices, and discuss the parallel risk of loss of specific practices such as leaf baths, since leaf baths were more widely adopted a few decades ago when interviewees were children. We report the current non-exhaustive use of 52 plant species, including fairly recent introductions (i.e., non-traditional plants), most of which were reported by only a few interviewees. Principal Component Analyses of interview results were conducted to provide a descriptive overview of how diversity of practices or plants relate to current uses. We discuss our results in the light of the recent and modern global trend that considers food and medicine as intertwined.